Aamir Khan and Anusha Rizvi’s Peepli Live has been making waves since even before its extremely well marketed release all over the world. Perhaps Mr. Perfectionist Aamir Khan deserves the title of ‘King Khan’ this time as he delivers one Oscar-worthy film after another, whether in the capacity of an actor or a producer. This is Aamir’s second film to the chosen as the official entry from India to the Academy Awards.
Peepli Live’s simple story, and an even simpler approach to the narrative, has made the film an instant hit with critics and viewers alike, and was touted to be one the year’s best films right from the get go. A most commendable effort on debutant director Anusha Rizvi’s part, Peepli Live has all the ingredients to make it an international favourite. Audiences in Europe and America seem to appreciate the rustic and rural setting in Indian films, as opposed to the unmatchable of glitz and glamour of, let’s say for example, Karan Johar and Yash Raj’s films.
The grit and grunge of the poor and underpriviledged in India has been the backdrop for many a successful film and Peepli Live’s satirical angle on farmer suicides gives it the extra oomph that might just carry it into the nominations for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars. The story revolves around Natha, a poor farmer who is about to lose his plot of land. When Natha figures that a quick solution to his problem might be the government aid program which gives money to the family of farmers who have committed suicide, he decides to end his life. Unfortunately for Natha, his decision to commit suicide to help his family becomes a national issue as overzealous politicians, bureaucrats, and of course, the media, hype up his story out of proportion, each for their own ulterior motives.
The film has had a unanimous verdict of being a winner among audiences everywhere and is touted to be the uncontested entry from India this year. However, some do say that the film’s minus point, which may prevent it from making it into the final five, is its close resemblance to Billy Wilder’s award-winning 1951 film, Ace in the Hole (later renamed The Big Carnival), which also dealth with the media and how newsmakers report what they report.
As of now, it’s a waiting game for Peepli Live and all its fans as the official list of nominees for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards will be announced on January 25th, 2011.